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Former South Korean President Visited Cebu For Honeymoon

What was missed in tourism circles recently was that South Korea’s former president Kim Young-sam, along with his wife, went to Cebu City, of all destinations – to have their 60th anniversary honeymoon. This little known fact is important because it showed how the Philippines has endeared South Koreans as a destination, so much that the couple decided to spend their honeymoon here. In the same breadth, it showed how South Koreans, upon first seeking to learn English from us, came back to their own village in South Korea and told about the beauty that is the Philippines. This is pure word-of-mouth marketing that pushed them into visiting and staying here.

As a result, South Korea accounted for 740,622 of the 3.52 million tourist arrivals in 2010, the largest from any country. There was no specific marketing done to attract this much tourist – it is just that they love staying and visiting here. Our beauty is an attraction in itself.

Our country can compete with any other country in terms of the beauty of our destination. But having great tourist destinations isn’t enough. Tourist visits were up 16.7% from last year, summing up to only 3.52 million. That number pales considerably compared to what other countries are getting.

  • Malaysia – 24.566 million
  • Singapore – 9.16 million
  • Indonesia – 7 million
  • Vietnam – 5.05 million
  • Philippines – 3.25 million

The flip side here is that there are still lots of room for growth, but it all comes down to critical steps on how we market Philippine tourism. Kim Young-sam’s is a vote of confidence from the South Koreans. We just have to do a makeover to show our natural beauty and they will come.

 

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For Foreigners: Going To The Philippines is ‘Expensive’

With the Philippines slowly becoming a player for tourism for the region, foreign carriers are also looking to expand into Philippine domestic routes. With the government adopting a liberalized air policy that should bring in more tourists from abroad, stakeholders are also finding the delicate balance of supporting local carriers while ensuring cheaper travel through foreigner competition.

According to Camilla Taylor, the country manager for Cathy Pacific Airways, the Philippines is currently one of the most expensive destination for international airlines. There is a heavy tax burden on foreign carriers, with them having to should overtime pay for customs, immigration, and quarantine personnel. This is making it hard for foreign airlines to complete travel processes for their guests quickly.

There is also the problem of airport congestion that has always plagued Philippine travel.Besides NAIA, it is also seen in other major airports in the country.

Local carriers are also asking for reciprocity – which means that foreign airlines can operate in the Philippines only if local carriers are given the chance to operate in their home countries too. But this is not possible unless our local carrier clear air standard regulation of other countries. With the current EU ban for Philippine carriers we do not see reciprocity happening anytime soon.

 

 

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